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Offline pansceptic

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Re: More Firemaking Ideas: Hand Drills and Fire Cans
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2012, 02:02:59 PM »
I forgot to mention a big (literally) advantage of flint & steel/flint & pyrite: you can ignite about as big a piece of tinder as you want.  I have folded over coarse cotton cloth to 4 layers about 1" square, coarsly stitched it, and charred.  If I drop just one steel spark on it, in a few seconds I have a BIG piece of red-hot carbon.  Breezy conditions are fine; less huffing and puffing needed from me to get a flame!  ;D

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: More Firemaking Ideas: Hand Drills and Fire Cans
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2012, 06:34:30 PM »
That sounds like it sure beats rubbing sticks to gether when the last guy to bum a light put it in his pocket, where do you get those?
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Offline pansceptic

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Re: More Firemaking Ideas: Hand Drills and Fire Cans
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2012, 08:31:11 PM »
Uncle Bob,
The "flint" part is easy; you just need an acute angle on any silica rock: flint, chert, agate, quartzite, novaculite, etc.  The steel needs to be high carbon and hardened; an old file, or at rendevous blacksmiths sell hard steel shaped specifically to strike sparks on flint.  Charcloth can be made at home (I'll bet YouTube has a video); even indigenous folk who make pottery can make charcloth.

The chunk of pyrite I use for the flint and pyrite technique I bought at a Museum Gift Shop :)  The tinder fungus is a bracket fungus that lives on dead palm trees around here.  The fungus the Native Americans used in the NorthEast is a similar species.

Have fun!

Offline RE

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Re: More Firemaking Ideas: Hand Drills and Fire Cans
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2012, 10:21:52 PM »
The "flint" part is easy; you just need an acute angle on any silica rock: flint, chert, agate, quartzite, novaculite, etc.  The steel needs to be high carbon and hardened; an old file, or at rendevous blacksmiths sell hard steel shaped specifically to strike sparks on flint.  Charcloth can be made at home (I'll bet YouTube has a video); even indigenous folk who make pottery can make charcloth.

The chunk of pyrite I use for the flint and pyrite technique I bought at a Museum Gift Shop :)  The tinder fungus is a bracket fungus that lives on dead palm trees around here.  The fungus the Native Americans used in the NorthEast is a similar species.

If you are going to stitch cloth together to make charcloth and buy pyrite in Museum Gift Shops, I can do a whole lot better than that.

You want Tinder?  Go down to your local Laundromat and Harvest the Lint out of the Lint Collectors in the Driers.  You'll have tinder for a lifetime.  LOL.  You can mix this stuff with some paraffin to make great fire starters also.  Or just buy commercial fire Starter Sticks.

Better than Pyrite, buy a Magnesium Stick from Coughlans.  Together with your trusty hunting knife, good for making hundreds of fires even with damp twigs.  The magnesium burns so hot it lights up about anything.  They list for $7.99 on the Coughlans website, but I picked up my collection for $5.99 each at Walmart.  Barter Item, I have 20 in original packaging.

Let's face it also, few of us are gonna go the Full Primitive, and we can Prep Up.  Easier and cheaper than all of these methods is your trusty Bic Lighter.  Buy them by the Case, around 50 cents apiece.  I start around 10 fires a day with one (smoker  :icon_mrgreen: ) and they usually last a couple of months.  Even if you started a new fire every day, one would last you a year, and if you are in this situation, you wouldn't start a new fire every day, in winter you would keep the same fire burning all winter in your cabin.  Only if you were nomadic would you need to start a new fire each time you moved campsites, and that still would not be every day.  Plus you can resort to carrying the fire around with you also, so really you only have to start one fresh on occassions you get drenched or your fire does.

With the Bics, don't forget to buy one of those Mini-Torch attachements that mix the butane with air and give you a Blue Hot Flame.  Also good for starting fires with damp twigs.

On the Permanent Level, the Egg Beater Drill method is the best, as it produces quite a bit more hot coal than the Fire Piston does.  However the FP is more portable.  Anyhow, have a couple of each of those too.  Also of course a Magnifying Lens for the old Solar Fire starting method during the day, works in winter even up here on a sunny day.

Finally, if you are Prepped with at least one Solar Panel or RV Wind turbine and a Car battery, you can always short-circuit the battery and the wires get hot enough to start a fire easy.  This one drives me nuts with people who get stuck in their cars in Winter and freeze to death because they didn't make a fire when the car runs outa gas.  Use the BATTERY to make a fire, dimwit!

RE
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 11:08:16 PM by RE »
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Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: More Firemaking Ideas: Hand Drills and Fire Cans
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2012, 10:39:08 PM »
When does a bic lighter last a month or a year  ;D the more you buy the more they dissapear!
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Offline pansceptic

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Re: More Firemaking Ideas: Hand Drills and Fire Cans
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2012, 04:25:06 PM »
RE,
Do you happen to have any experience with how long a cheap butane lighter will retain its gas?  I have thought about buying a lot of them as trade goods, but I'm apprehensive about self-discharge.  I doubt the manufacturers spend a lot of effort making such a cheap product gas-tight over a several-year timeframe.  Also, if I have a 5-gallon plastic bucket full of them (I have over 50 5-gallon buckets with lids, full of various things), will they leak enough butane to give me an, ahem, Explosive Situation?

Offline RE

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Re: More Firemaking Ideas: Hand Drills and Fire Cans
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2012, 04:49:47 PM »
RE,
Do you happen to have any experience with how long a cheap butane lighter will retain its gas?  I have thought about buying a lot of them as trade goods, but I'm apprehensive about self-discharge.  I doubt the manufacturers spend a lot of effort making such a cheap product gas-tight over a several-year timeframe.  Also, if I have a 5-gallon plastic bucket full of them (I have over 50 5-gallon buckets with lids, full of various things), will they leak enough butane to give me an, ahem, Explosive Situation?

I have lighters in the original packages I bought in 2009, still full of Butane (the lighters are clear, you can see the butane)

Butane stays mostly liquid at room temperature so it doesn't present the same danger as leaky propane cannisters.  However I have a lot of those also, plus a refilling adapter for them also.

So far, the cabin hasn't blown up.  :icon_mrgreen:

RE
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Offline EndIsNigh

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Re: More Firemaking Ideas: Hand Drills and Fire Cans
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2017, 12:08:47 PM »
Well I'm finally reporting back on the results of my bow drill fire making attempt.  I cheated a little and used a knife to carve my fireboard and drill.  I also used a shoelace in place of natural cordage.  Trying to get my first fire going by primitive means using only natural material was, in hindsight, overly ambitious, so I figured I would get the technique and method down before going full primitive.

For those of you unfamiliar with the bow drill method, it consists of four components.  A drill, bow, handhold, and fireboard.  The drill is a very straight piece of wood about 8" in length with a point carved at each end.  Think of a pencil shape.  The top should be pointed so it fits into the handhold, and the bottom slightly rounded to a small point.  The bow should be the length of your arm from fingers to armpit.  The string can be made of natural cordage (eg. rawhide, dried plant material) or man-made (eg. long shoelace, nylon string/rope).  The fireboard should be an inch thick and at least as wide, twice as much is best.  The drill is spun with the bow vertically on the fireboard, which lays flat on the ground, while the top of the drill fits into your handhold.  The friction bores a hole in the fireboard, eventually producing a coal that can be used to start fire with tinder.

Here's a photo of my equipment

Bow Drill Equipment - Australia
Bow Drill Equipment - Australia

For both my fireboard and drill I used a native species.  It was used by the Aboriginal peoples of my locale and is called Xanthorrhoea, or by it's best known common name, blackboy.  If you'd like, you can read more about its' additional uses on Wikipedia.

The handhold is a macadamia nut shell, or half of one.  It fits perfectly in the palm and has a very smooth surface where it makes contact with the drill.  This helps reduce friction at the handhold end so all the friction is at the fireboard.

I'm not sure what species the bow is but I suspect it's a Eucalypt.  It's best to use something with a slight curve and some slight give.  You don't want it to snap.

I had been trying to start fire, or more specifically create a coal, over a few sessions but I just couldn't get it to happen.  Plenty of smoke and drill dust was created, but no coal.  I had a feeling my fireboard was narrow but hadn't been able to find any thicker Xanthorrhoea.  That was until recently when I spotted one off the side of a nearby road.  To get to it I had to walk through some gnarly scrub, which I wasn't keen on because it looked like prime poisonous snake terrain.  So I got my boots on and quickly grabbed the dried flower spike and returned to safer ground. 

Back home in the garage I carved out the new thicker fireboard and drill and went to work.  The first attempt resulted in the board splitting at the end when I went to cut a notch in the new drill hole.  This is something to watch for if you try to drill too close to the end of the board.  I learned a number of useful tips in the following YouTube videos, which I highly recommend if you're trying this technique.

Ultimate Bowdrill Tips & Tricks (Part 1)
Ultimate Bowdrill Tips & Tricks (Part 1)
Ultimate Bowdrill Tips & Tricks (Part 2)
Ultimate Bowdrill Tips & Tricks (Part 2)

My second attempt was much improved as I quickly mated the drill with the board and then recarved the drill for the attempt at the coal.  By now my form was second nature from the prior experience which allowed me to completely focus on the pressure and speed of the bow.  As usual I had lots of smoke, but I also had more board to drill through due to the increased thickness, so the longer drilling created higher temperature, producing a coal for the first time!  The giveaway was a separate stream of smoke coming from the drill dust pile.  It was a great big coal too! 

Taking my time I transferred the coal to my tinder pile and blew on it until it erupted in flame....FIRE!  Finally all my hard work had paid off.  It was a great feeling.  Knowing that I could save my ass if ever I needed to was a big boost of confidence.

Here's the proof of my primitive firemaking.  I have a video as well but no means to edit it and it's far too long to upload.  Maybe another time.

Bow Drill Coal
Bow Drill Coal
Bow Drill Fire
Bow Drill Fire

Now that I've created a coal and a fire, I'm going to try producing the material without the aid of modern tools.  Creating a stone knife and cordage won't be easy, but I'll persist until I've had success and share again back here.

 

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